Last week, I was in Abuja for work. I decided to visit tourist attractions in Kaduna with my friends @marhoatumu and @taiofierce. We needed attractions that we could visit in a day’s trip. After researching, we narrowed down the attractions to 3 places (Kagoro Hills, Nok Village and Matsirga Waterfalls).
During our research, we didn’t see any review of Matsirga Waterfalls online which was mind boggling. But we were determined to be the first blog to review the Waterfall. We had to cancel Kagoro Hills because we couldn’t do all 3 in a day’s trip. One had to go, and sadly Kagoro Hills was chosen.
We chartered a taxi guy who drove us to/fro Kaduna. Luckily, he also spoke Hausa which we found very useful when we were asking for help with directions to Nok Village and Kafachan where the Waterfall is located. We left Abuja at about 8/8:30am and got to Jaba where Nok Village is located at 10am. We met with the assistant curator who gave us an intro into the history of Nok Art in Nigeria.
The first major Nok archaeological discovery was made in 1928, at a tin-mining operation in the Nok Village. It was a terracotta head of a monkey found. This was taken to miner museum in Jos and remained a unique object until 1943 when another terracotta head was found Nok. These finds gain the attention of a British Colonial Administator, Bernard Fagg who was stationed in Jos.
Bernard Fagg studied Classics, Archaeology and Anthropology at University of Cambridge. Various discoveries were made from the Nok Village, Jema, Taruga in the FCT, Kagard in Niger State and even as far as Katsina-Ala in Benue State. The name “Nok Culture” was given by Bernard Fagg due to the discoveries of the first terracotta figurines in Nok, Kaduna.
P.S. The terracotta figurines do not reside in Nigeria atm due to “security reasons” and the fact that some of these figurines cannot withstand the flight back to Nigeria.
Bernard Fagg’s House
One of the earliest dwelling place of the early inhabitants was found on the mountain just directly behind the Nok Museum. It is said to have the following still standing:
- Welfare/Maternity Cave: This was used as a hospital during illnesses and and child birth.
Hospital bedsslabs are still available in the cave. Red dots on the wall of the cave were used to denote the total number of child births (purple dots for female and white dots for male).
- Barn Cave: This was used as food reserves to store grains and other food items in case of drought. The Chief Security Officer was said to be responsible for securing such items. His bed can be seen at a corner by the entrance to the cave.
- Rock Shelter Cave: This was used as the Supreme Court of the early inhabitants. Decision making are done in this cave.
- Open Court: This was used as shrine where traditional practices such as reincarnation took place. Also all disputes were settled in the court.There are also monoliths in the court used for swearing during court sessions.
- Hiding Cave: This was used to for hiding during wars.
- Tree of Life:This tree is said to be only surviving specie of its kind in Africa. It is said not to shed its leaves and no living thing can found resting/nesting on the tree. The early inhabitants had a group of men who could communicate with the tree. Anytime the tree needed attention, it would radiate light at night. The tree was able to forsee the future and relay it to the group of men. When women had issues getting pregnant, a potion was made for them from the root of the tree to cure them. This tree exists to date.
Tips on visiting Nok Village
- Call ahead of time to ensure appropriate arrangement are made.
- If you want to visit the caves on top of the mountain, you have to spend the night at Nok Village because the hike to the top of mountain starts early in the morning (7am).
- There are 6 chalets in the compounds which can sleep 6 people. However, if you have your camping gears you can setup them at the foot of the mountain and in the compound of the museum. If you have inflatable beds, the chalets can sleep 12 people.
- The nearest hotel is located at Kwoi, Jaba LGA.
- I think only MTN works there. Glo was almost non-existent till we left Nok Village.
Watch out for part 2 where we write about Matsirga Waterfalls.